LAKE PLACID — Authorities say 16-year-old Jordan Kelton fled police in a stolen car and then on foot.
State Trooper Steve O’Meara said a call at 6:20 a.m. Monday said a Ford Explorer, reported stolen from Cascade Acres Trailer Park off Sentinel Road, was traveling erratically.
“We received a report of a reckless driver in the Trailer Park. He was observed leaving the Trailer Park in a vehicle matching the description given to us,” he said.
“He ended up crashing the vehicle at the St. Agnes Cemetery in Lake Placid in an attempt to evade police. He fled on foot after crashing.”
One of the oldest grave stones was toppled in the collision.
The pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Parish, the Rev. John Yonkovig, said the car hit two trees on the way in and crushed the cemetery’s “rules and regulations” sign. Those obstacles likely slowed the vehicle before it reached the graves.
“He did knock over one large tombstone, but it was not broken,” the priest said.
“It was one of the first stones in the cemetery. The damage will be easily rectified. These are very big stones. It only has to be righted.”
Yonkovig said the vehicle was heavily damaged in the crash, and St. Agnes estimates about $1,000 worth of damage in the destruction of the cemetery sign.
Evidence in the search for the driver of the Explorer led police to where Kelton lives with his father on Conifer Circle in North Elba, near Whispering Pines Campground off Route 73.
The teen was arrested at 5:08 p.m. Monday.
Investigators said they did not know if Kelton had been drinking or doing drugs before allegedly stealing the vehicle.
“He was not located until later on in the day,” O’Meara said. “At that time, he was not under the influence.”
State Police did not have Kelton’s father’s name; the report said the teen does not have a driver’s license. He was apparently visiting a friend in Cascade Acres when he went outside and allegedly took the vehicle.
Police said the car is not owned by anyone related to Kelton. They did not yet know whether keys had been left in it.
Kelton faces three criminal charges, including grand larceny, a felony; and two misdemeanors, criminal mischief for recklessly causing damage to grave stones and fleeing from an officer in a motor vehicle.
In addition, he received several traffic tickets: speeding, failing to obey a police officer, reckless driving, not having a license and leaving the scene of a property-damage accident.
The police investigation was not yet complete, O’Meara said.
Kelton was taken to Essex County Jail, where he remained Tuesday. He is due in North Elba Court at 3 p.m. today for a felony hearing.
State Police were assisted by Lake Placid Police at St. Agnes Cemetery.
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